What are you afraid will happen if a student leaves the room?
What are you afraid will happen if a student sits down?
What are you afraid will happen if they drink water during a posture?
What are you afraid will happen if they drink water in the first 3 postures?
What are you afraid will happen if a new person practices in the front row?
What are you afraid will happen if a student lays down during the standing series?
What are you afraid will happen if you stop teaching from fear?
What if you just loved them enough to let them learn to take care of themselves?
What if you love them enough to let them make mistakes and learn from them?
What would happen if you love them enough to give them the gift of teaching yoga asana and let them learn from it, grow as humans, struggle with changes, make mistakes, sit down, and get back up because it is their choice--it is their will--their decision to try again today, or tomorrow, or next week?
What if you loved them just enough to teach from the example that love is a better teacher than fear?
What would happen if you chose to love each student just enough that when they look in the mirror and shirk away from themselves, we looked back at them with love and acceptance until when they looked in the mirror and they could love themselves just enough to let go of the harsh judgement?
What if, when they were not strong on a given day, we shared our strength with them, or better yet, let them know it’s ok if you’re not always strong, you’re not always able to keep going.
What if we loved them enough to let them rest here in our loving space and be safe and loved?
What if we loved them so much we gave them a place to come, whenever the need it, to feel safe and loved no matter what?
What kind of changes, demons, sadness, shame, guilt, could they face and learn to forgive themselves?
What if we loved them unconditionally, without judgement, to be a loving example? To fill our hearts and spread it out to every student. To teach from love and in turn teach them to love themselves? What would happen if our students were so loved by themselves that they went out into the world and share that love with their families? Or their friends? Or their enemies? Or strangers?
What if every student were loving, through your guidance and their own hard work?
What are you afraid of that stops you from loving them? What if you stopped being afraid and just loved?
Don’t be afraid to find out.
To the teachers who have practiced with me:
What does it feel like to come in the room and know you won’t be judged? To know you are not there to be an example to anyone? To know you can come in the space and practice and just be loved for whatever that is today? What does it feel like to watch students grow in love and not be judged for what you do on your mat? What does it feel like to then have permission to let your students feel the same way? I know personally what that feels like because my teacher taught me this way.
Teachers have come to my studio and had this experience of teaching from unconditional love, to practice in unconditional love. And when they leave to go teach in other places, they feel stopped, prevented from teaching this way. That it is so hard to keep trying to teach what they have experienced that the answer is to go teach another style of yoga to be able to teach from this loving place.
I love them for trying. I understand the frustration. How can they be strong enough when the place of gaining this strength and love in their practice is the place they feel judged?
Please don’t be afraid to keep trying to teach from love. To push back against fear. To be able to come back and feel loved. To bring that love to your mat. Don’t let anyone steal your peace...or your love.
So every time I ask myself (and I do): Why do I do this? Why do I keep doing this? Why do I let these teachers come to my house and learn to teach this way? Why do I travel to the other side of the world to teach and share? Because this yoga to me is all about love and I won’t stop trying to spread that message. I have enough love to keep trying. I will not let my fears change my choice to love.